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NBCBonanza - The Hopefuls

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Set in Nevada in the 1860's, Bonanza chronicled the adventures of the Cartwright family who owned a large ranch called The Ponderosa. Ben Cartwright and his three sons, Adam, Hoss, and Joe fought for what was just and decent in a time where lawlessness was common.

The widowed patriarch Ben Cartwright had three sons, each by a different wife: the oldest was the urbane architect Adam Cartwright, who built the ranch house. The second was the warm and lovable giant Eric, better known by his nickname "Hoss." And the youngest was the hotheaded and impetuous Joseph or "Little Joe." They all lived and worked on The Ponderosa. Nearby Virginia City helped populate the episodes with guest starring characters from all over America.

Broadcast between September 1959 and January 1973. Filmed by the National Broadcasting Company at Paramount Studios.


"The Hopefuls"
Season 2
Episode 5

Whilst in Virginia City on ranch business, Adam mets up with Sam Board. As they are leaving town, they come across a wagon train and they both decide to help the settlers out. Adam finds himself falling for the daughter of the group's leader. However, when Board carries out a drastic plan of his own, Adam soon finds out that love doesn't overcome personal morals and beliefs.


This movie is part of the collection: Classic TV

Producer: NBC
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: Bonanza; Westerns; Classic TV; Classic Television; Color; Public Domain


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Average Rating: 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars

Reviewer: benkid77 - 5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars5.00 out of 5 stars - October 6, 2012
Subject: Great guest cast and good story

This episode illustrates how the pacifist ideology of a band of Quaker settlers contrasts sharply with the lawlessness of the Old West.

Adam is the hero, as he tries to help a card-playing drifter with a shady past. He makes the "standard offer" of a ranch hand job and a real opportunity for the man to go straight, but alas some people just seem to have criminality in the blood.

Adam does however meet a nice woman, the daughter of the Quaker leader, and it seems to be a case of true love at first sight. Subsequently, defending the Quakers against the criminal gang, Adam has no choice but to use firearms in order to do the right thing. Sadly this is the very sort of action which means he would not be able to assimilate into the Quaker culture. So alas as perennial fans will know, I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that yet another good woman slips out of the grasp of a Cartwright brother. It's particularly sad in this case as she was one of the better ones! Nevertheless, I'm sure Adam will have completely forgotten her and be back to his cheerful self by next episode. (If only real life were so simple :) )

What I really like about this episode though is the good quality acting of the guest cast and also the general feel and production values - it's very reminiscent of actual western movies of the time. In particular the scene near the end, leading up to the final showdown. You could be forgiven for momentarily forgetting you are watching a TV episode, as it's just as absorbing and well filmed as an actual movie.

The Bonanza writers/producers/directors & actors were really on top of their game with episodes like this. Again, just classic TV from the "Golden era" of the medium - absolutely recommended.